Reflections on the Bible's Intriguing Firsts
Harmony, Hardcover, 9780307717184, 304pp.
Publication Date: March 1, 2011
The bestselling and prize-winning Israeli author Meir Shalev describes the many "firsts" of the Bible – the first love and the first death, to the first laugh and the first dream – providing a fresh, secular and surprising look at the stories we think we know.
The first kiss in the Bible is not a kiss of love. The first love in the Bible is not the love of a man and a woman. The first hatred in the Bible is the hatred of a man toward his wife. The first laugh in the Bible is also the last. In Beginnings, Meir Shalev reintroduces us to the heroes and heroines of the Old Testament, exploring these and many more of the Bible’s unexpected "firsts." Combining penetrating wit, deep empathy, and impressive knowledge of the Bible, he probes each episode to uncover nuances and implications that a lesser writer would overlook, and his nontraditional, nonreligious interpretations of the famous stories of the Bible take them beyond platitudes and assumptions to the love, fear, tragedy, and inspiration at their heart. Literary, inquisitive, and honest, Shalev makes these stories come alive in all their complicated beauty, and though these stories are ancient, their resonance remains intensely contemporary.
MEIR SHALEV (b. 1948) is one of Israel's most celebrated writers. Author of six novels, most recently A Pigeon and a Boy, and five works of non-fiction, his writing has been translated into over 20 languages. A columnist for the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot, Shalev lives in Jerusalem and in the north of Israel with his wife and children. He has received the Brenner Prize, Israel's highest literary honor, the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction, and numerous international honors.
Praise for Beginnings
"These essays bring a novelist's insight to the analysis of biblical characters." —Jewish Review of Books
"Shalev puts his fine storytelling skills to work." —Booklist
"Shalev is an author of great sophistication whose enthusiasm is contagious. He has an eye for detail, a thirst for making implied connections explicit and a wonderful habit of fully imagining the potent drama narrated." —The Forward
Praise for A Pigeon and a Boy
"Shalev creates a world that has the richness of invention and the obsessiveness of dreams." —The New York Times Book Review
"Brilliant... Universal in its scope and examination of human longing for a sense of roosting." —The Jerusalem Post
"An exquisite creation, a work of quiet language that needs no shouting to attain its impact." —Chicago Jewish Star
Praise for The Blue Mountain
"Passionate, ribald and tender . . . Shalev's colorful, feisty characters and vibrant prose animate this indelible depiction of the birth of a nation." —Publishers Weekly
"Evocative, even lyrical, with the underlying magic realism adding to the mythic stature of the villagers and their accomplishments." —Kirkus Reviews